The first of my Organizational Development Tips for 2018
With the dawning of a New Year, many of us consider this an opportunity for a fresh start. And I have noticed in my social media thread less of the traditional New Years Resolution types posts, and more about deeper values. And I am happy to see this healthier approach! Rather than focusing energy on trying to be things we are not – doesn’t it make sense to cultivate those things that truly matter to us?
How does this relate to the organizational development tips for 2018? I continue to be drawn to the parallels between personal development, professional development and organizational development. The principles of health and wellness are quite universal. But some of the trends I see evolving on all fronts include:
A need to simplify
The pace of change and uncertainty in our world seems to be increasing. Our personal lives and professional lives can seem chaotic and stressful as we are pulled in so many directions. I believe many organizations are also facing the same thing. We are bombarded with so much information, and face so many demands – how do we know which way to go? How can we set priorities in this chaos? And how do we prevent burnout at all levels of the organization?
Getting back to values
Perhaps it is more apparent in my generation, and/or where I live in the world. But I am happy to see more people focusing on values rather than on achievement and possessions. Whether it’s more time with family, making a contribution to the community or pursuing those hobbies that we love – people want more meaning in their lives.
And I see this also happening with organizations. In my last article, I talked about organizational culture and challenged the trend about the need to “re-invent” your culture. While we certainly want to remove the toxic and harmful behaviours – there are almost always some important values at the heart of each company’s culture. If we totally remake our culture – do we not also loose some of those important values?
Letting go of what no longer fits
For many years, New Years started me on a quest to make a list of all the things I would do differently. And almost all of it was adding to my current tasks and activities. Not only was this unrealistic and setting myself up to fail on my resolutions, but it wasn’t forcing me to figure out the obstacles. Often we feel frustrated not because we are failing to do something we should be doing, but because we have old habits and attitudes that are preventing us from being what we want to be.
As an example – it’s not that I truly can’t find the time to exercise every day. The problem is that my attitude towards exercise is that of a chore rather than enjoyment. Until I can truly believe that exercise is a positive and valuable part of my day, I will continue to find excuses. So we all know how many people waste money on exercise equipment and gym memberships that only get used for the first couple of weeks in January. Then those people feel even worse because they have once again failed.
But if we choose to focus on the big picture of wellness and consider our individual values – we may be more successful. For many years, I was into the hardcore gym workouts: boot camp classes, weight training, running, etc. I pushed myself whether I felt like it or not – but it was almost always a chore. Over the years, I have let go of the hardcore workouts to find what works for me. Because I enjoy the outdoors, I want to get out and walk whenever the weather allows. I love the peaceful feel after doing yoga, so I look forward to those classes. And just doing lots of fun outdoor activities keeps me moving.
Now every now and then I start second guessing myself. Because there’s all those articles and advertising out there that exercise should be hard and grueling. It can be tempting to jump back to those old habits and beliefs. But is that really what I need?
How do we know what to let go of in a business?
As with individuals, each organization needs to have a clear understanding of their vision, goals and strategy. These should be a constant mirror for you to evaluate every decision. If what you are doing doesn’t fit with your strategy – why are you doing it?
And again, just like with individuals, we usually just continue to pile on the new things without letting go of the old. We either don’t take the time to evaluate whether or not it still serves us, or we second guess ourselves that maybe we still need it. We get caught up in the advertising, or trying to copy what others are doing.
As with our personal choices, we may have doubts when things get tough. We may want to reach back to what we think might give us stability. But consider – does that not block our ability to move forward?
So where do you start with letting go?
Before letting go, you need to have a very clear understanding of where you are going. Those of you that have followed my blogs and teachings for awhile know that I advocate for effective strategic planning. If you have a strategic plan – have you been following it? Now is a great time to review your progress and ensure you have a clear picture of where you are going. If you don’t have a strategic plan – then get started on one now!
Now that you have a clear understanding of where you are going, you can do an audit of your current operations to identify things which may no longer serve you. Consider reviewing your:
- Assets – both tangible and intangible
- Products and services
I cover some tips for this in my book “Solving the REAL Business Problem the RIGHT Way”. You can get a free copy of the ebook when you sign up for our mailing list. Simply fill out the form on our website to download it.
And do consider your organizational culture, and identify those specific behaviours that are toxic and/or holding you back. Get back to focusing on those values that are most important in supporting your strategy and achieving your vision.
Wishing you all the best in 2018!